Google Doodle honours Dr Ignaz Semmelweis who controlled Childbed fever with his ‘correct’ handwashing practice


  • As Coronavirus pandemic sweeps the world, Google Doodle honoured Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis — the man who first discovered the benefits of handwashing.
  • The doodle’s animated video showcases the right way to wash hands while Semmelweis ticks the timer.
  • Wash between attending the living and studying the dead, he had said.
As Coronavirus pandemic sweeps the world, Google Doodle honoured Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis — the man who first discovered the benefits of handwashing.

This time, the doodle’s animated video showcases the right way to wash hands while Semmelweis ticks the timer.

"Today, Semmelweis is widely remembered as "the father of infection control," credited with revolutionizing not just obstetrics, but the medical field itself, informing generations beyond his own that handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of diseases," Google Doodle website says.
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‘Wash between attending the living and studying the dead’

In 1847, Semmelweis was appointed as the Chief Resident in the maternity clinic of the Vienna General Hospital on this very date. At that time, Childbed fever was causing an array of maternal deaths in Europe. This dates back to the mid-nineteenth century, when child births took place at home, with high risk of infections.

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That is when Semmelweis said that the doctors need to wash their hands on a frequent basis to avoid transmission of diseases — precisely what the world is facing today because of the pandemic. As many as 197 infectious cases of Coronavirus have been reported in India — including four deaths.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), that declared coronavirus as a public health emergency, says that “most health care-associated infections are preventable through good hand hygiene – cleaning hands at the right times and in the right way”.

Wash between attending the living and studying the dead, he had said. The infection was being transferred from doctors to patients via hands. After which, all the medical staff was asked to wash hands after treating a patient.

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Soon after the practice gained ground, deaths due to childbed fever reduced significantly. Years later, Semmelweis published his discovery “The Etiology, Concept, and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever” in 1961.

Born in 1818 in Budapest, Semmelweis got his doctorate degree from the University of Vienna. However, in the later years of his life, the physician suffered a breakdown and was taken to a mental hospital, where he died in 1865. Reports suggest that he died of infection on his right hand.

Today, the recommendations to wash hands frequently and other hygiene regimes are followed according to the "germ theory of disease".

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See also:
Coronavirus cases in India state wise: 195 infected, 20 cured and 4 dead

Kartik Aaryan recreated his famous Pyaar ka Punchnama monologue to educate people about Coronavirus
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